If I’m honest about the reason for wanting to return to Naples, it was mostly for the opportunity to return to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. And if I’m really, really honest, the pizza wasn’t as good the second time around. But Naples itself was still amazing, and we ate and sight-saw between wandering the chaotic streets of the old town.
Our first stop was at Pizzeria da Michele where we each ordered the doppia mozzarella, and received a ridiculously large plate of food for 11.30 am. We had arrived early to skip the massive crowds waiting outside that I had experienced when visiting last year with the sister, and to try fit in an early dinner pizza before returning to Rome.
The pace is also a lot slower and relaxed earlier in the day, compared with the later lunch rush. The same older man was preparing the pizzas, who gets replaced by younger, faster pizza chefs when the crowds pile in. So we got to sit and relax while waiting for our pizza, with only the occasional splash from the overhead air-conditioning unit to bother us.
And then the pizza. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele was one of three pizzerias that I ate at when in Naples last year, and it was easily the best. This time around I made the piggy mistake of ordering the doppia (double) mozzarella. For this you receive a larger pizza, which comes with a thicker base and possibly with too much mozzarella that quickly started to congeal. It wasn’t quite the food revelation I had been waiting for, but that likely came from over-anticipation.
Our trip to Naples wasn’t just about the food, so post pizza we headed to the archaeological museum, for its collection of marble sculpture and artifacts from Pompeii and Herculaneum. I still hold a sense of uncomprehending awe that objects this old can still exist, so get a kick out of seeing the panes of glass used as windows and all of the small, delicate objects.
We also attempted to go underground, below the city to take a tour of tunnels and the city’s foundations, but a combination of rushing and mis-map reading meant we ended up at San Lorenzo Maggiore just around the corner from our intended destination. We wandered through the remains of an ancient Roman market that are below this church, but it wasn’t quite the underground experience we were hoping for.
Post church, we went in search of snacks. The amount of mozzarella still congealed in our bellies meant we had no desire for a second pizza, or even any fried savory snacks that day. We instead hit up two pasticcerias on Via Tribunali, taking sfogliatelle, baba and cannolli away with us. Because pastry for dinner is always amazing.
Until next time, Naples!